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Moses usually tires out after an hour of visiting patients because he takes in a lot of human emotion, Bock explains.

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The process to become a therapy dog at Fairview begins with a volunteer application and two references. Fairview also requires therapy dog certification. Therapy dogs go through a second step in the volunteer application process by meeting with volunteer services staff. The therapy dog is brought in and walks the hospital hallways to ensure the dog is OK in the setting, Dahill said.

the hospital, Fairview Volunteer Services coordinator Katie Dahill said.

While some patients decline, others agree and Bock lifts Moses onto the bed, where he settles in with the patient while Bock chats with them.

Gary Bill gives "Moses" a dog treat during a visit at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina Monday, April 14. Moses is one of five therapy dogs who visit patients at the hospital. (Sun Current staff photo by Lisa Kaczke)

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"Moses" gets off the elevator on Fairview Southdale Hospital's third floor, ready to make his rounds.

The owner goes through an orientation process that includes observing a therapy dog in action.

Therapy dogs can be used in hospitals, clinics and hospice care, but also in places like colleges to lower students' stress and schools to help students who may be frustrated while learning.

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Moses lets Bill scratch his ears and gets a dog treat. Bill's family takes photos of him with Moses, and show photos of their own spaniel on their cellphone.

Therapy dogs have been volunteering at the hospital for several years. The response from the nurses is that patients are appreciative of the visits and that the dogs provide a sense of well being, Dahill said. The dogs are calming and comforting, providing a bright spot in a patient's day, she said.

A visit from a furry friend

Moses and his owner Heidi Bock spend the next hour walking the halls of the third and fourth floors of the Edina hospital. Moses indicates he wants to go into a patient's room, stopping at the door. Bock knocks on the door, asking the patient in the room, "I have a therapy dog. Would you like a visit?"

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In one room, a woman recovering from having surgery that morning says her 3 year old daughter will be disappointed to have missed Moses' visit. In the next visit, a patient talks about the schnauzer she used to have and the birds she currently has as pets while Moses snuggles against her.

Moses gets his back scratched, and a box of dog treats appears from a nurse's desk drawer.

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The dogs' owners focus on the benefit to the patient. They enjoy the company of their dog and it's wonderful for them to see other people enjoy the dog as well, Dahill said. Dogs are in tune with the emotional response of patients, who are often happy, relaxed and at ease when a therapy dog is around, she said.

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In addition to visiting patients while walking the hallways, a therapy dog can be requested to visit a specific patient by asking a nurse. Therapy dogs can go into the waiting room in the emergency department, but not the emergency treatment area. They also don't go to the family floor because the focus is on the new babies, Dahill said.

A therapy dog needs to have the temperament for the work, Bock explained. The dog needs to be OK with the noises of a hospital and being around people. Obedience is also needed. Moses walks right next to Bock so he's not blocking the hallway if someone needs to get through quickly. He's also trained to immediately come to Bock if he gets loose and she calls him back to her.

They would love to have more pet volunteers, but human volunteers are also needed for Fairview's information desks and to help escort patients in the hospital, Dahill said.

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Moses is one of five therapy dogs at Fairview Southdale, with another coming on board soon.

Heidi Bock and 8 year old "Moses" visit patients at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina Monday, April 14. Moses is one of five therapy dogs who visit patients at the hospital. (Sun Current staff photo by Lisa Kaczke)

Moses is certified by Therapy Dogs International and has been a therapy dog at Fairview Southdale for the past six months. Bock said she enjoyed being a hospital volunteer and loved Moses, so having Moses as a therapy dog tied it together.

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Patients usually perk up when Moses visits, and caregivers and family members in the room become happier, Bock said. The benefits of having a therapy dog also extends to Fairview's staff, who get a lift in their day from seeing the dogs in Nike Air Vis Zoom Vis Zoom Uptempo

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The Cavalier King Charles spaniel's first stop is to greet the nurses, his tail wagging as a nurse says, "Hi sweetie!" and another nurse snuggles him, saying how much she loves his visits. Nike More Uptempo 2016 Red

The people in patient Gary Bill's Nike More Uptempo Gs Reflective room all get a kick of out Moses' visit. Nike Air Max Uptempo Fuse 360 Size 13

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